There were plenty of ghosts in The Walking Dead season 9's fifth episode, "What Comes After," but no major character deaths - not even Rick Grimes! Though many had anticipated that the long-standing hero of the series would go to his grave, Rick's much-touted final episode wasn't actually the end of actor Andrew Lincoln's time with the franchise. Instead, Rick will return in three feature-length Walking Dead movies produced by AMC.
Let's recap. At the start of the episode, Rick is in what looks like an impossible situation - impaled on a piece of rebar, with two walker herds converging on him. With great effort, however, Rick manages to pull himself off the rebar and escape, with a terrible wound in his side. As Rick manages to get back onto his horse and keep ahead of the herd, but as he loses blood he also repeatedly loses consciousness, and has visions of characters who have died on the show: Shane, Hershel, and Sasha. They, along with Rick' own past self, keep imploring him to "wake up."
Another character who seemed in danger of being killed off in "What Comes After," but wasn't, is Negan. Maggie, having decided that she could no longer stand the thought of her husband's killer being left alive, arrives at Alexandria with a crowbar, ready to beat him to death in the same way that Negan had killed Glenn. After a passionate exchange, Michonne reluctantly hands over the keys to Negan's cell. Once Maggie gets inside, even Negan seems to be onboard with the plan - goading her about how he'd killed Glenn, and imploring her to kill him. As Negan begins to emotionally break down, however, Maggie realizes that she'd actually be doing him a favor by putting him out of his misery, and decides to let him live.
Rick's journey comes to a climax at the bridge, which is still under construction. Rick leads the walkers onto the bridge, hoping it will collapse under their weight, but to his dismay it holds. The rest of the gang arrive on the scene, but Rick tells them to stay back. After a walker knocks a crate of dynamite over, Rick sees his opening. He shoots at the dynamite, triggering a massive explosion that blows both the walker herd and him into the river.
At first it seems like Rick really is gone for good - and his friends certainly seem to think so - but at the end of the episode we see Jadis, about to be evacuated by the mysterious helicopter. Seeing Rick, wounded but alive, on the river bank, Jadis makes a call over the radio to say that she doesn't have an "A," but she has a "B" who needs help. Rick is airlifted away in the helicopter to receive medical treatment, and in the final scene we meet a new set of survivors - and it's revealed that The Walking Dead has jumped forward drastically in time, with Judith Grimes now 8 or 9 years old and shooting and fighting with the best of them.
How long will these new survivors last? Well, we'll have to wait and see.
- This Page: Who Died in The Walking Dead Season 9, Episode 5, "What Comes After"
- Page 2: Who Died in The Walking Dead Season 9, Episode 4, "The Obliged"
- Page 3: Who Died in The Walking Dead Season 9, Episode 3, "Warning Signs"
- Page 4: Who Died in The Walking Dead Season 9, Episode 2, "The Bridge"
- Page 5: Who Died in The Walking Dead Season 9 Premiere